Tag: ‘tax expenditures’

Obama's Failure to Kill 529 Plans May Say Less About Tax Reform Than You Think

By :: January 30th, 2015

After President Obama proposed, and rapidly abandoned, a plan to curb the tax advantages of Sec. 529 college savings accounts, several wise observers, including my friend David Wessel at Brookings, saw an object lesson for broad-based tax reform. To wit: If lawmakers can’t ditch a single $1 billion tax break, how could they possibly agree to […]

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“They Said That They Would Do It and Indeed They Did.” 


By :: December 15th, 2014

“Oh, what a night…” but no shut down. Ted Cruz and a handful of allies succeeded in delaying the Senate vote on the 2015 budget, but they couldn’t stop it. The $1.1 trillion spending bill was approved late Saturday night by a vote of 56-40. And three months into the fiscal year, most of the […]

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Dave Camp’s Great Bonus Depreciation Flip-Flop

By :: May 29th, 2014

Sadly, the House Ways & Means Committee has turned on its head a proposal by its chairman, Dave Camp (R-MI) to repeal bonus depreciation for business capital investment. Instead of scrapping the measure, which Congress originally passed in 2008 as a temporary anti-recession tonic, the panel has voted to make the tax break permanent. And, […]

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How “Dead Men” Fiscal Policy Is Paralyzing Government

By :: May 13th, 2014

In his new book, Dead Men Ruling, my Tax Policy Center colleague Gene Steuerle delivers a powerful indictment of the current epidemic of irresponsible fiscal policy. But Gene isn’t writing about deficits and today’s economy.  His focus is on the long-term political, social, and economic consequences of mindless budgeting that increasingly functions on policy autopilot. Gene’s […]

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If Congress Lets Firms Expense Investments, It Should Take Away Their Interest Deduction

By :: April 17th, 2014

Egged on by business lobbyists, congressional tax writers seem increasingly interested in allowing firms to rapidly write off the cost of their capital investments. Especially in the House, lawmakers would allow small businesses to expense the full cost of their investments in the year they are acquired, and let larger firms heavily front-load tax depreciation […]

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Why Most Tax Extenders Should Not Be Permanent

By :: April 3rd, 2014

What to do about the tax extenders—or, as my colleague Donald Marron calls them, the “tax expirers”? Restoring the current crop (most of which expired on December 31) for 10 years would add about $900 billion to the deficit. House Ways & Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden […]

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Should Tax Reform Be Sold on Values Instead of Economics?

By :: March 31st, 2014

Maybe the best way for tax reformers to get political traction is to focus on values, not economics. That, at least, was one take-away from three political scientists who spoke at a Tax Policy Center panel today. Until now, backers of reform have focused primarily on economic arguments: A reformed tax code would increase growth […]

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Incoming Senate Finance Chair Wyden Outlines His Tax Agenda

By :: February 10th, 2014

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), about to become the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Friday that he aims to eventually rewrite what he described as a “dysfunctional, rotting mess of a carcass that we call the tax code.” But in an acknowledgement of the challenges of tax reform, Wyden said he wants to […]

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Taxes: A Big Gun In The War on Poverty

By :: January 16th, 2014

When Lyndon Johnson declared his War on Poverty 50 years ago this month, he could not have imagined how many battles would be fought through the Tax Code. In the ‘60s and early ‘70s, the safety net was built almost entirely on spending programs.  Back then, policymakers created Medicare, Medicaid, student loan programs, and Head […]

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A New Look at Who Benefits from Tax Expenditures

By :: December 19th, 2013

Who benefits from the tax credits, deductions and exclusions that have become such an integral part of the modern tax code? Nearly all of us. And that’s why any tax reform that eliminates or scales back many of these preferences in return for lower tax rates is so hard to do. The Tax Policy Center […]

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